CVG holds mass casualty training exercise Friday

CVG, along with over 80 Tri-State departments and agencies, participated in a mass casualty exercise on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 2:25 PM EDT
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HEBRON, Ky. (WXIX) - To casual observers, the scene at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport looked like the climax from a big-budget movie on Friday.

The airport was full of emergency vehicles from dozens of Tri-State police, emergency and fire departments. With lights on and dozens of volunteer victims, over 80 mutual aid agencies were taking part in a mass casualty training exercise the airport regularly holds in case of a major incident.

“We are practicing a very unfortunate circumstance,” said Mindy Kershner, senior communications manager with the airport. “Air travel is still very safe, but you always need to practice for the what-ifs.”

The training was for a plane crash with dozens of injured victims. First responders tended to victims, taking some to a triage area before transporting them to area hospitals, which took part in the exercise.

The drill took months to plan, Kershner said, along with hundreds of volunteers. She said cultivating relationships with Tri-State agencies and volunteers is the key to holding a successful exercise.

“Building those relationships ahead of time, it’s really the most critical piece of all of this,” Kershner said.

Kershner said departments are kept in the dark as much as possible and don’t know what to expect.

“We try to keep it pretty vague,” Kershner said. “So then our first responders really need to jump into action and put critical thinking and life safety (training) into place.”

Evaluators monitored the exercise and offered feedback and advice to agencies afterward.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates exercises, like the one held Friday morning, every three years, but the airport regularly holds other drills for events such as power outages and tornados.

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